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|2011 AGSV Soccer Grand Final Preview: Ivanhoe v Marcellin|
Friday, July 29 2011
Kick-off @ 3pm – Veneto Club, Bulleen
Traditional rivals Ivanhoe and Marcellin are set to lock horns in this week’s AGSV Soccer Grand Final, to be held at the traditional home of the competition – the Veneto Club.
It has been five years since the two sides squared off in the AGSV showpiece event, when on that day back in 2006, Marcellin emerged triumphant 2-0 at the Darebin sports complex, in what was their second successive title, commencing the start of a remarkable run that has seen them win four of the last six AGSV championships.
Nevertheless, Ivanhoe will be determined to avenge their past failures, as many of the current players were in Year 7 when their school missed out on that glorious opportunity to clinch the title, and will be buoyed by the chance to set the record straight this Friday.
Let it be known that whilst this website is not generally dedicated to bringing you the latest news and analysis from the world of AGSV football, and rather European news, it is for this one off occasion. Let it also be known that I, Adrian Del Monte, spent 13 years at Ivanhoe Grammar, and was on the receiving end of the two successive defeats in ’05 and ’06, so apologies in advance for any bias towards the better school.
Will history repeat itself?
Despite winning just three AGSV titles in their history, Ivanhoe have been one of the most consistent performers in the competition. Having not featured in the final since 2006 however, the boys are presented with a glorious opportunity to go one better than the classes of 2005 and 2006.
2005 – Marcellin cruise as Ivanhoe stumble
Marcellin were the dominant team in the 2005 season, comfortably finishing atop of the table, with an extremely healthy goal difference. Their talent was evident by the fact that they managed to score more goals than the Ivanhoe AFL team of the following season, which was a phenomenal achievement.
Ivanhoe had a convincing win to kick start the new campaign, but a missed penalty by captain Luke Pace in the final minute of play, meant the Hoes dropped vital points against an average Trinity Grammar side in round two. This was the start of a stumbling season for the proud school, who later in the campaign found themselves a goal down early at Marcellin with three rounds remaining. A second half revival led by star midfielder Michael Goddard who netted a glorious header however, ensured the match finished 1-1, keeping their hopes alive.
Next saw the most remarkable comeback in AGSV sporting history, as Ivanhoe traveled to PEGS, needing at least a point to remain in the top two. After 50 minutes, the visitors were stunned, trailing 3-0 with just 30 minutes remaining. Fists were thrown, and red cards were shown, as powerful defender Chad Rosenlis was shown a red card, and a PEGS father escorted from the the field, meaning Ivanhoe had to play the final half hour with just 10 men.
Playing in Czech tactician Jan Puckovski’s unorthodox 2-4-3 formation, Ryan De Remer and yours truly formed a two-man defence, as the Hoes threw everyone forward. Three goals were incredibly scored in the space of 15 minutes, with Mat Forte playing an instrumental role and Kim Fkiaras grabbing the decisive equalizer.
The scene was set, as Ivanhoe met Marcellin in the 2005 final at the Veneto club, in front of a strong crowd. There were flares, chants, sledges, and even a few offensive Mussolini posters that made for a great atmosphere.
Fresh from a week off, the Marcellin boys looked the brighter side in the early stages, and it didn’t take them long to gain the ascendency, as Daniel Rischitelli netted a brilliant opening goal. Daniel Ciric was as solid as ever in between the sticks, whilst Andrew Viola was a rock at the back.
Rischtelli grabbed his second of the afternoon, after an arduous battle with God-brother and future Giorgio Armani designer Stefan Busso on the flank. Despite De Remer pulling one back late, Ivanhoe were simply no match for the Eagles, as Pace, Rosenlis and goalkeeper Stefan Taleski missed out on their final opportunity to clinch AGSV glory.
2006 – Ivanhoe revived but Eagles still soar
Picking up from where they left off in 2005, Marcellin were unbelievable in 2006. With an extremely similar side still intact, the Eagles were the early favourites to clinch the title once again, humiliating minnows Assumption, Yarra Valley and Mentone along the way.
In their opening eight fixtures, Marcellin had sensationally failed to concede a single goal, however their final match of the season ended the remarkable run, as they traveled to Chelsworth Park and suffered their first defeat in a very long while.
Ivanhoe again suffered from a case of the stutters early on, recording a narrow 1-0 victory away to Mentone, thanks to a Fkiaras penalty, whilst they suffered a shock home defeat the following week against PEGS, after their quick-footed, bearded striker, who looked to be at least 25 years old at the time, grabbed the winner.
Struggling with inconsistent form and injury, Ivanhoe managed a commendable 4-4 draw at Trinity, before reeling off a string of victories in the lead up to their clash with Marcellin. It was extremely tight heading into the final round of the season, and knowing that if results went against them, a draw would not be enough, Ivanhoe aimed to achieve the unthinkable – defeat a side that had not been scored against all season.
In front of a packed house at Chelsworth Park, complete with dolls and flares, Ivanhoe were exceptional from the onset, and managed to take a two goal advantage midway through the second half, through Bilal Tawfic and Peter Karakoussis. The Eagles did manage to pull one back, but the Hoes held on for a 2-1 victory, booking their place in the final.
Despite their revival, it was a case of déjà-vu for Ivanhoe, as they found life difficult in the early goings of the final played in blustery conditions at Darebin. A first half goal scored by James Kalifatidis allowed the Eagles to take a one goal advantage into the break, whilst influential midfielder James Verkic, with the Ivanhoe Girls Grammar faithful on his side, set up Kalifatidis for the second, making it two years of misery for the Hoes in succession.
Time to make a difference
It is a different story five years on for the Ivanhoe boys, as they prepare for the biggest sporting event of their school lives. Gone are the days of the 2003 and 2004 champions of Ivanhoe, including stars such as Michael Catalano, Nick Curtis, Peter Gavalas, James Longo and the Egyptian master himself Claude Jabbour, in addition to the God of Ivanhoe football back in 2002 – Vito Ceniti.
Seven years on from their last championship, and it’s time to make a difference at Ivanhoe, and the boys will be hopeful of doing exactly that under captain Jonathan Bounas. The defensive midfielder has been in superb touch this season, and is a player for the opponents to keep a watchful eye on, particularly after scoring the equalizer the last time they met.
On that day, Justin Yiah was also on the score sheet, after opening the scoring playing off the right wing. Melvin Nawipa has also featured prominently in that role, and is expected to make a contribution in the final. Nicholas Epifano has been dominant in his attacking midfield role with eight goals to date, a feat equaled by striker Matt Crick, who has been clinically consistent.
Meanwhile, the Hoes are looking as solid as they have been since the final side of 2006, with Luke Gavalas in goal, hoping to follow in the footsteps of brother Peter. There are eight players vying for positions in the back four with Thomas Lazarides, Jeese Lamb, Marcus MacLeod, and Haris Stamboiulidis in the running, with the latter being a Year 9 student making his mark at the highest level.
Matt Augello, Elia Jikwa, Yanni Kotis and Giulian Drapac are the other four defenders in the Ivanhoe squad, with Drapac’s organizational skills and clearing ability a key feature to look out for in this contest.
Matthew Lazarides is expect to dictate the play on the left wing, and with a killer cross up his sleeve, he is another to keep a close eye on, whilst Joey Katebian, who has scored a few wonder goals this term, is likely to relive captain Bounas in the centre of midfield. Dillon Jakupi and Ian Lobo will also add firepower to the side’s attacking ranks.
LAST TIME THEY MET – Marcellin 2-2 Ivanhoe (AGSV Season, 2011)
The two sides squared off just over one month ago, in a fascinating contest that ended all square at 2-2. Despite getting off to a slow start, Ivanhoe winger Yiah found some space on the right to open the scoring, with a sweetly struck effort on 10 minutes. Struggling to create chances, Marcellin managed to get back on level terms just prior to the half time interval, through Jonathan Fletcher, who tapped in from close range. Incredibly, Fletcher made it two within two minutes, as the referee blew his whistle, with the score 2-1 in favour of the Eagles at the break.
Marcellin carried on from where they left off in the opening period, testing Gavalas in goal. James Papadimitriou went close to making it 3-1 early on in the second half, however Gavalas was up to the challenge, tipping the effort away for a corner. As the match drew to a close, Ivanhoe were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position, which Bounas confidently stepped up to slam into the top corner, ensuring both sides took home a share of the spoils.
Defenders: Augello, Drapac, Jikwa, Kotis, Lamb, T.Lazarides, MacLeod, Stamboulidis
Midfielders: Bounas (c), Epifano, Katebian, M.Lazarides, Nawipa, Yiah
Forwards: Crick, Jakupi, Lobo
Defenders: Bettiol, Costanzo, Di Bartolo, Goff, Gravias, Privitera, Tardio
Midfielders: Caifano, Cardamone (c), Fletcher, Lorenzi, McDonald (c)
Forwards: Campbell, De Bortoli, Hesse, Papadimitriou
* Jesse Lamb – The wall in defence * Davide Cardamone – Influential star
* Jonathan Bounas – King of midfield * James Papadimitriou – The wildcard
* Matt Crick – Danger man up front * Quinn McDonald - Classy champ
Ivanhoe – Luke Gavalas (GK): History suggests that Marcellin are always strong up front, and this week’s final will be no different. Gavalas will need to have a safe pair of hands in goal, if he is to keep his side alive in what will be the biggest match of his school life. Plenty of pressure will be on the starlet to deliver, and follow in the footsteps of his highly-rated brother Peter, who was absolutely phenomenal in the '02, '03 and '04 finals.
Marcellin – Jonathan Fletcher (RW): Despite all the hype surrounding co-captains Quinn McDonald and Davide Cardamone, the hero for Marcellin in the last outing with the Hoes must be closely monitored this Friday. Scoring twice in their previous encounter, the right-winger will be full of confidence heading into a match that he may be able to decide off his own boot.
With exception to the draw played out between these two sides, both teams have managed to comfortably win their matches this season. Ivanhoe however, were awarded a draw following the cancellation of a match against Peninsula, meaning that should the final end deadlocked, Marcellin will again be crowned AGSV Champions.
With so much on the line for both sides, one would expect a fairly nervy opening 20 or so minutes, making for a fairly quiet opening half. The game will burst to life in the second period, and whether you are from Ivanhoe or Marcellin I wish you all the very best, but this title is one that the Hoes will not let slip away.
Make sure you leave your predictions for the match in the comment box below AND
IVANHOE 2-1 MARCELLIN